BBC 2.0

I met Jason DaPonte on Friday, who gave a presentation on the “BBC 2.0” strategy.

Wow. These guys get it. I wish I’d known him a year ago, when I was busily telling corporations about how they should get involved with Web 2.0. I could have saved a lot of time by saying “look, this is what the BBC is trying to do. Do that”.

First, they did their research. They wanted to determine the quality and impact of their websites, and were particularly interested in what they’ve been calling the ‘lovability’. In order to measure this Jason said they’d been calculating their Net Promoter score (which involves asking users how likely they would be to recommend to a friend or colleague and doing some maths to create a Net Promoter score). While CBeebies, Dr Who, Sport and News had great scores, some (I particularly noticed Newsround and Comedy Soup) fared pretty badly. Interesting question though: how likely is the average kid to recommend the Newsround website, and how likely am I to recommend the weather site? Some sites (like weather) have a big reach but are not well loved.

Second: they noticed something was going on out there. Jason showed this graph (or something very like it) to highlight the explosive reach of YouTube vs the relatively static reach of the BBC over the past few years. According to Jason (and he’s spot on here IMO), the sites that have been doing well have been straightforward, functional, gregarious (social), open, and evolving.

Next, they formed a response, which happens to be alliterative. The 5 Ps are..

  • Distinctive portfolio
  • Promise fulfilled
  • Participation
  • Part of the web
  • Personal experience

The two key points for me, and the ones for which Jason gave most examples, were participation and being part of the web. Some cool stuff already going on here. For John Peel day people were invited to upload their photos to a Flickr photo pool. He mentioned a demo of a “Radio 1 sucker” site (also mentioned in this presentation online), which demos what a Radio 1 website which purely aggregated existing content would look like (the answer: impressively rich). Best of all, the experimental Programme Catalogue that Matt Biddulph mentioned back in late ’05 is back online.

One amazing quote which had me reaching for my Moleskine: “don’t just build a website, be part of the web”. Some more principles (a discrete 6th P), some of which I also hastily scribbled down:

  • The very best websites do one thing really well
  • Use other peoples content and tools to enhance your site (and vice versa)
  • The web is a conversation… join in
  • Link to discussions, don’t host them
  • Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever [Which is of course to say that Cool URIs don’t change]
  • Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes [yay!]

I hope the BBC listens to this good advice, and continues to act on this strategy. A BBC 2.0 web presence, and involvement, would raise the bar for everyone.


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  1. “straightforward, functional, social, open, and evolving”

    Heh, they were my five words. Except it should be ‘gregarious’ :)

    Comment by k — January 29, 2007 #

  2. Hah. You are right. Apologies for my inaccurate note taking. :-) Updated.

    Comment by Roo — January 29, 2007 #

  3. Also see The BBC’s 15 Web Principles.

    Comment by andyo — January 29, 2007 #

  4. […] Roo has got an interesting post on his recent visit to the BBC; it certain sounds like they are heading in good directions. […]

    Pingback by knolleary » Blog Archive » The BBC’s Fifteen Web Principles — January 29, 2007 #

  5. […] Original post by Roo and software by Elliott Back […]

    Pingback by » BBC 2.0 — February 2, 2007 #

  6. […] Euan is an independent advisor, and the former head of knowledge management at the BBC. He gets it, and was a great way to kick off this conference. I was hoping he’d touch on BBC 2.0, but his insights into the history of the adoption and internal use of social tools within the BBC were fascinating. […]

    Pingback by What’s Next? » Blog Archive » Euan Semple — February 21, 2007 #

  7. I’ve heard again and again for about six years that the BBC get it, and I’ve heard and see some wonderful stuff, but still we don’t seem to have something public that really does the trick. I still believe, but I’d like to see a release….

    Comment by kybernetikos — February 21, 2007 #

  8. Update: a version of the BBC 2.0 presentation is available on SlideShare.

    Comment by Roo — September 21, 2007 #

  9. […] I asked, for the public facing newsletter/magazine/outreach services, where people are already using YouTube, why create new systems in which people need to upload video when you can invite them to share existing content that’s already online? The answer was that apparently their clients want content moderation and a desire to host content themselves. I chatted briefly afterwards, and shared some of what I love about the BBC 2.0 vision of “don’t just build a website, be part of the web”, and “do not attempt to do everything yourselves: link to other high-quality sites instead“. I also showed Matthew a screenshot of the BBC Radio 1 “sucker” prototype which pulls in content from Technorati,, Flickr, etc. You can still moderate aggregated content. My feeling is that if we want to engage with our communities, why not embrace the bits of the web that already work, and are already being used by the public? […]

    Pingback by Roo Reynolds - What’s Next? » Blog Archive » Society of Information Technology Management — September 21, 2007 #

  10. […] to Roo Reynolds’ posting, I’ve re-discovered the John Peel Day photo […]

    Pingback by Peel Web Roundup (Week 5) « — April 27, 2009 #

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